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This eco-living course covers mindfulness and eco-friendly living tips, healthy and easy-to-make recipes, DIY skincare recipes, weekly live sessions including expert guests, directories of ethical and sustainable lifestyle & food brands, and so much more!
We interview Madeleine Wisecup, the founder of The Wise Consumer podcast and blog. She has recently launched a course on eco-living but made easy for everyone who is curious and interested in transitioning to a more eco-friendly and healthier lifestyle. Learn what this well-structured course is about along with some inspirational tips to get started right away!
Hi Madeleine, why did you start The Wise Consumer and what’s your mission?
First, thanks so much for inviting me to share a bit about myself and The Wise Consumer. Stoked to be sharing a bit about my story with you here.
I launched The Wise Consumer for a variety of reasons. First, I have a passion for people and our planet, more specifically the people who are working to make our planet a healthier and happier home for all of us. This was the driving force behind the podcast, The Wise Consumer. I truly believe everyone has an amazing and beautiful story to share with the world and I wanted to be able to help share and tell these stories. Since launching the podcast I’ve interviewed some truly inspiring change makers who are working day in and day out to make a difference in our world.
Second, about 3 years ago I started having some skin problems — the doctor diagnosed me with a random autoimmune condition that affects your skin. If not properly treated, he informed me, it could lead to more serious health conditions. I was determined to better understand everything I could about this autoimmune condition and started researching and reading up on it as much as I could.
And while doing all this research, what did you discover that led you to share with the world?
Unfortunately, after weeks of research, I discovered that there was no official known cause or miracle treatment to this auto-immune condition (why it occurs is still a bit of a mystery to most health professionals today). But, throughout all my research, one common thread kept popping-up, appearing in almost every article and book I read — highly processed chemicals and toxins found in most of the commercial skincare products, foods, and goods I was using were being found to have negative side effects on most people’s health.
It was at this moment that I started researching everything I ate, drank, put on my skin, put near my skin, etc. Words such as parabens, Dacthal, or DCPA, formaldehyde, fragrance, etc., words I hadn’t really paid much attention to until this diagnosis, kept making an appearance in everything I was reading.
Honestly, I went down into a rabbit hole and never came back up — I was obsessed with educating myself and others about the changes we could make in our lives, and for our planet, simply by changing certain behaviors, products we were using and foods we were eating. It was then that I decided to create a platform where I could share the information I was learning with those who might not have time to research and explore these types of topics in an approachable and personal manner.
You’ve launched a 30-days virtual course Be Wiser (together), who should join?
I’ve developed this course for anyone who is curious and interested in transitioning to a more eco-friendly and healthier lifestyle but a) doesn’t have time to do the research b) needs a bit of direction/support and c) wants to join a community of like-minded individuals who are there to encourage and support each other throughout the ups and downs of life in general.
We love how you’ve structured the course, could you guide us through the big themes related to eco-living?
This course has two main components 1) mindful living, i.e. how to be more present and conscious in our daily lives (especially during this global pandemic we’re all facing) and 2) sustainable/eco-friendly living.
The course is divided into 4 weeks and each we will cover a different topic: Skincare and Beauty, Nutrition and Eco-friendly Kitchen, Fashion and Cleaning, and finish off with the chapter Tying it all together!
What are some of the most interesting pieces of knowledge you will be sharing in each topic?
Skincare & Beauty (Week 1): We will cover all things related to natural skincare, low-waste bathroom and skincare products and tips, DIY skincare recipes, my favorite skincare, haircare, and makeup brands.
Nutrition & Eco-friendly Kitchen (Week 2): We will cover all things related to the importance of eating whole and natural foods, low-waste living in the kitchen, how to compost, the clean fifteen and dirty dozen etc. And I’ll be sharing some of my favorite recipes and all-natural food brands.
Fashion & Cleaning (Week 3): We will cover all things related to ethical and sustainable fashion (textiles, brands, secondhand shopping, etc.), how to carefully preserve your clothes, eco-laundering tips, some of my favorite DIY cleaning recipes, and eco & natural cleaning brands.
Tying it all together (Week 4): We will be tying everything together as well as covering other eco-lifestyle changes and topics such as eco-friendly technology, how to save the honeybees, regenerative agriculture, etc.
You tie two concepts in your course: mindfulness & sustainable living. How are these related and why is that important?
Sustainable living is more than just about being eco-friendly. Of course it’s great to reduce the amount of waste you produce, grow your own veggies, reduce your carbon footprint, use natural skincare products, eat less meat, write to your senator, etc. but if you’re not healthy — emotionally, physically, and mentally — then, in a way, it’s all for naught (on a personal level at least).
You’ll have a harder time making a difference in our world, and in the lives of those around you, if you’re burnt out and exhausted all the time. It’s like the flight attendants say at the beginning of each flight “put your oxygen mask on first, before helping others.” I’ve learned that if you’re not making your health a priority then you’re not only doing yourself a disservice but a disservice to those around you and our planet.
And then, of course, mindfulness also applies to eco-living in regards to how and what you’re consuming. Slowing down and asking yourself questions such as “do I really need this? Can I do without it? Is there a more sustainable option? How can I reuse it? Etc.” Being mindful about how you consume goes hand in hand with sustainable living. We’ll go over all this in more detail in the course! So if this is something that interests you, make sure to sign up here.
Now, that makes a lot of sense! How can we start with our mindfulness?
Now more than ever, as we try to make sense of this global pandemic, making space for yourself, i.e. slowing down and being more present, is one of the most important gifts you can give yourself. I am not saying that you have to meditate for hours on end — that’s not realistic for most of us. Rather, it’s about finding and implementing simple yet meaningful actions that will help you best cope with the hustle and bustle of everyday life without burning out.
I am bringing in an expert to talk to course students about the practice of mindfulness — the health benefits of mindful living, etc. She will also guide us through a mindfulness meditation during the first week of the course. Each day I’ll also be sharing one simple mindfulness “task” for students to accomplish.
What do you think stops people from starting a journey in eco-living?
A few things come to mind, but we will definitely go into more detail about all of this in the Be Wiser (together) course.
- Budget: Many people believe that in order to live a sustainable lifestyle you have to spend a lot of money. Of course eco-living can be expensive — supporting ethical and sustainable brands can quickly add up if you’re not mindful about where and how you’re spending. But on the flip side eco-living can also be extremely cost-effective. If you stick to the 5R’s (refuse, reduce, reuse, recycle, rot) chances are you’ll end up saving money.
- Perfectionism: I think people think that if they can’t be “perfect” in all aspects of sustainable living then what’s the point. The reality is, even the smallest eco-friendly lifestyle change makes a difference — you don’t have to be “perfect.”
- Time: I’ve heard a lot of people tell me they just don’t have time to live an eco-friendly lifestyle. I mean, who has time to make everything from scratch or research sustainable brands or compost in their backyard? I get it. But I believe it’s about picking and choosing what works best for you and your lifestyle. For instance, you might not be able to make all your dinners from scratch but maybe you’re an engaged and active citizen who writes to their local representative about environmental and social issues. Or, maybe you ride your bike to the grocery store and use public transportation. There are so many different ways you can live a more eco-friendly lifestyle — every action, big or small, makes a difference.
So where can we sign up to the course, listen to your podcast, or read your eco-living blogs?
You can register for the Be Wiser (together) course here.
Subscribe/listen to the podcast here.
And read the blog here.
Also, feel free to connect with me on Instagram — always love meeting and chatting with new people!